My 2019 Analogue System

We’ve wrapped up the Christmas season, and we’re barrelling right into the new year. I can hardly believe it.

Over the last few years, I’ve been adjusting the planners and notebooks I use regularly, and here they are for 2019.

Last year had two big adjustments for me. The first one was moving our operations back to the west end and opening up our main shop there, while living on the east end. It was, and continues to be, for me an adjustment in the sense of not always being physically present in the warehouse. While Jon is at the main shop everyday, I often find out about new shipments or new items a beat (or two) later, and in terms of organizing for social media or photography or projects, I’ve been trying to keep up.

The second one is Caleb entering Kindergarten. While he was in preschool last year, it didn’t seem quite as demanding as a family: winter concerts and assemblies, nightly reading “homework,” permission forms for field trips. These are two worlds that have no overlap, and I don’t think I appreciated, before Caleb started school, how much easier it was to have Caleb integrated into the shop life so much.

So onward. Here are the analogue tools I’m using to help keep me organized next year.

Midori B6 Slim Toronto Canada

B6 Slim Midori Skin of the Goat Leather Cover + B6 Slim Notebook Grid

This is my everyday carry, random notes, miscellaneous thoughts, lists; for more, see this blog post on how I use this notebook).

This notebook is still going strong. It’s a catch-all for everything, including a distraction for babies in waiting rooms, notes from audiobooks or podcasts, to-do lists, and all of my genius ideas. I consider it extremely non-precious, so I jot down things with little concern for posterity or handwriting or legibility.

Traveler's Notebooks 2019 Toronto Canada

Traveler’s Notebook Regular Size

  1. Dated agenda insert: as it sounds, to keep track of appointments, events, lists. I would take a photo of it as it is now, since it starts mid-December, but then you would be exposed to all the ways I’m irresponsible, like paying late library fines.
  2. Blank insert for books: more to come on this one. At the bottom of this blog post is a bit of a preview of how I’m using it.
  3. A grid insert which I use to organize work stuff. Blog planning, on-going projects, ideas, training.
  4. Possibly another blank one to replace my B6 slim. My B6 slim is a mainstay and a great size, but I occasionally find myself bringing both my TN and my B6 slim, and it would be great to consolidate. I’m very attached to the size of the B6 slim, so we’ll have to see how it goes. I think I max out at three books, so it may take some reorganization.

A5 Midori Skin of the Goat Leather Cover, with a Stalogy A5 notebook, soon to be a Taroko Breeze for my journal.

This is my daily journal. By daily, I sometimes mean weekly, so no judgement here. But I do try and mostly write in it everyday.

Some people worry about how the leather will wear with time, and whether or not it will darken. Midori advises that you can leave it out in the sun to tan and darken, or if you’re in a hurry, you can use oils and stains. Every piece of leather will be different, but in general, the more you use it, the more it will darken. Understanding that that’s a frustratingly vague statement in regards to a specific question about this specific notebook cover, I am hoping to do a comparison post between old covers and new covers soon. In the meantime, here is a comparison post after one year. It’s now been about three years.

3 Year Diary Midori

I’ve been keeping this since January 1st of 2018, and I’m hoping to share more on how exactly I use this soon.

At the risk of sharing too much information (ha! ha!), I used to worry a lot about how much I loved Caleb’s infanthood and how much I didn’t want him to grow up. Everyone told me it would get better as Caleb got older, his personality would come out, and he would say and do funny things. Of course, everyone was right. I’m mostly using this to keep track of interesting things that happen in a day, funny things Caleb says, taping in the odd picture. I do indeed miss a day or two or three every once in a while, and sometimes backtrack.

And what are the technology tools? I’ve got a Macbook Pro which I use for blogging and emails and vaguely organizing photos, but next year I’m thinking of making the switch to an iPad. I don’t use my laptop for anything that requires so much power, and an iPad would also be fun for Caleb, now that he’s a bit older. We are definitely not at the stage (maybe more so me) where Caleb is going to get his own device, and yet I don’t want Caleb to be missing out on too much.

This year, like last, I’m forgoing a Hobonichi, although that may change as I’m hearing about how everyone is using their planners, and there are some great ideas out there. I’ve long given up on being a completionist, and needing to have the whole year filled out from January 1st, so I have one on the side, just in case. I’m considering encouraging Caleb to start keeping one, now that he can write a bit, but I feel like it might be more work for mama than Caleb.

I’m mostly just attracted to the paper, and the idea of it offering a page for you to fill up everyday. I can see how some people feel it’s both restrictive or too much pressure, but I like that it offers you space so you don’t have to feel bashful about how much you’re writing. In any case, with all that space, the pages do crinkle up, and you can feel how many moments fill up a year.

B6 Slim, Platinum 3776 Chenonceau


While the main shop was closed December 25th and 26th for the holiday, it’s back to regular hours today. The studio shop is closed, though, until the 2nd, and with Caleb off school, the family is up at the cottage for a few days.

It’s been wonderful! All the snow and quiet and hauling of firewood and audiobooks in the car. There’s also a part of me that is already rearing to get back and get started on the new year. During the craziness of the holiday season, I didn’t think I was going to get around to a blog post like this, sharing about my 2019 analogue tools, but here I am, tapping away about it.

While I have no way of knowing this definitively, I feel as though the majority of the readers of this blog fall into one of two categories: either mostly (or only) interested in stationery products and reviews, or not really interested in stationery but curious about the personal, behind-the-scenes small business life. Who are these crazy nut jobs trying to sell what, pens??

Posts like these are the rare posts that sort of fall in between: it’s how I’m organizing my life with paper and pen.

We’ve had this shop now five and a half years, six years now. Starting your own business can be all-consuming: I think many entrepreneurs are by nature people who maybe (hopefully) aren’t workaholics, but wear many hats, especially at the beginning. Packing orders, mopping floors, taking photos, maintaining a website, writing a blog, troubleshooting internet problems, Twitter, accounting,** renovation management, HR and payroll – all skills learned on the fly.

Over the last five years of the shop, each year has brought with it massive changes and projects, and while it sometimes feels like we’ve got all burners on all the time, and while I think a part of me will always enjoy having at least one or two side projects going on, I’m working on that mythical work/life balance. I know, I know – it’s a myth! It doesn’t exist! I’m choosing to be a bit more optimistic about its possibilities. We all need Santa at least once a year.

That’s all to say that as we head into 2019, with the two babies now heading out of babyhood, I’m looking at dipping into a few things that will tweak my daily or weekly or monthly schedule just ever so slightly. Starting up some new things for me personally, reorganizing some other parts of my life. I’m hoping to scrap off a little of the excess in order to allow the tools I do have to be more efficient, and more customized to what I need and, most especially, what I want from a daily life.

*i.e. control freaks.

**one skill technically never learned, although disastrously attempted one year and never again.


  1. Marcy Penner

    Very curious to see if/how you work in an additional notebook into your TN to take over for the B6 slim. I currently have the exact same dilemma! LOL

    • wonderpens

      I will let you know! I’m extremely hesitant to combine any of the current ones (schedule, work, book) together or with a general notes one, and or to remove the book one to accommodate the general notes one. The current dilemma is both that I enjoy having a slimmer one for on the go, and also I like having the book one together with my TN. I’m still using the B6 for now, although I may make a change mid-year. Let me know how it goes for you! 🙂

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